Evening Drive In Summertime

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Evening Drive In Summertime” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

The humid summer air blows through the can of the big blue truck as I cross the top of the dam. Summer is a time for leaving the windows down and the radio up.

As a young man it was important to visit all the parking lots on summer evenings so that you could catch up with your friends. Today the restaurant at the top of the dam is Fat Eddie’s but in those days it was a Dairy Queen. I remember once when the girls convened everyone to tune in the same radio station so that the same music was playing all through the group. I can’t really remember who’s idea it was in the first place but I remember someone saying “Music brings us together.” The lake in summer will be associated with the music of the 80s. Something that seems to be missing from music entertainment is the voice of the DJ. I know that today music artists call themselves “DJ” but I’m talking about the announcers that delivered a monologue between sets. Today we have a playlist on our phone or other device that delivers a continuous stream of song but the friend who rode with you everywhere is missing. On one of my devices I have a few clips from DJs worked into the mix for “old times sake”.

When I approached the dam and the evening sky all the memories seemed come back at once. A lot of things have changed since the responsibly free summer evenings of my youth. But crossing the dam with the windows down and music up isn’t one of them.

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The Calling ( A Surreal Tall Tale)

Hello Friends! Tonight’s image is titled “A Walk Through The Sky”

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The wind stopped blowing so suddenly that it seemed to make a thud and the rolling clouds froze in place. For a moment everything was silent. As I looked around I began to see other signs that something must be amiss. There was bird that was frozen in mid air. The flow of water which normally jetted from the overflow tunnels at the base of dam was suspended in mid stream and the rapids on the Gauley River looked solid enough to climb. Time was definitely halted. But for what reason? And why wasn’t I effected? I released my grip on the camera and it too remained suspended in mid air refusing to fall. I stood back and marveled at the world for a moment. I was tempted to hop but then on second thought what would happen if I didn’t land? I reached out and took a hold of my camera and it became free again. I began to realize that as long as I was touching an object it would behave normally. Then there was a voice. A voice that wasn’t as much heard as it was felt. It seemed to call me down to the water’s edge. I began to make my way towards the calling when I tripped over a stone in path. “Great!” I thought. “The only object capable of falling in this world is me.” I had laugh at the ridiculousness of my predicament. I seemed to fall in slow motion and barely felt an impact when I came to a rest at the bottom of the dam. That’s when I spotted the golden key laying in water. It was an odd shaped key with a tubular shaft and wings on one end. The shaft had a groove the length of the shaft and several knobs on the inside of tube. It hung on red silk ribbon that was seamless and without a clasp. Instinctively, I knew that that this was the purpose of the calling. I hung the key around my neck and continued on following the direction of the call. The landscape shifted as I traveled and soon I came to the mouth of cave. Just inside the threshold of the cave opening was a crystal doorway. The crystal door was ajar and at the top there was an engraving of two triangles with one inverted over the other. The tips of triangles touched. I felt that voice again urging me to step through the doorway as the door opened fully. I looked inside and there on a stone pillar was an antique mantle clock with a hole in the face that my golden key would fit. I knew then what must be done. Inserting the key in it’s spot I began to wind the clock. I continued to wind until the tension on the spring felt just right. However, when I tried to remove the key it was stuck. I gently jiggled and tugged but it was no use. This key was not for one person to keep. As soon as I let go of the key the clock began to tick. Slowly at first but I could easily tell that it was picking up speed. The voice began to call from outside of the cave. It was more urgent than ever. As I glanced away from the clock I saw that the crystal door was beginning to close and now that time was flowing again the opportunity to leave the cave was running out. I leapt through the closing door and rolled out of the mouth of the cave just in time to see it fade away into the hillside. I could feel the breeze on my skin and looked up through the canopy of trees to see the clouds rolling by. Time was fully restored and I would have to make my way back up to the big blue truck and head home. I wondered why this task had fallen to me. Was it fate? Was it something that I was born to do? Or was it just that I was in the right place when the clocks stopped ticking? I’ve been told that it’s a photographer’s work to freeze time. But I had not expected to be responsible for getting it going again.

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Solitude And Focus

There are times when a person just needs a little solitude. When the world around you is full of flashing signs and blaring music and distractions of every kind. We all have those moments when the mental clutter just needs to be pushed back and space needs to be given for focusing on one thing at a time. We need to just let our minds drift for a little while like a bird on the lake. He’s not trapped in the water. He can leave at time of his choosing. He can paddle around and go to any part of the water or land that he wants. He’s not overtaken by winds or currents but instead he rides them. He works in harmony with creation and achieves what is needed. And he rests when it’s time. He is at peace with his environment as God intended. Solitude isn’t really about being antisocial or introverted. It’s about focus. It’s intended to be a limited time for mental and emotional recharge. We exercise our bodies to grow stronger and have more endurance but any successful athletes will tell you that it’s during the resting cycle that the strength manifests. Our minds and spirits are the same way. We need a resting state to fully benefit from the stimulation we experience in daily life.

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At The End Of The Day

Deep blue fades to black as the golden sunset transitions to red. In the forest edge the Katydids give their calls. The soft breeze carries the scent of freshly brewed coffee rising out of the warm cup in my hand. The day’s work is far behind me. I wasn’t really finished with all my tasks today but that’s alright. If we can’t take a few minutes to quietly enjoy God’s beautiful creation then what’s the value of the day’s effort in the first place? Sometimes a project turns out to be a little bit more than you anticipated. I started today with an ambitious list of “future accomplishments” to achieve. However, that didn’t happen. While it’s important to have goals life is more than a list. Life is a gift. At the end of day it’s not the accomplishments that should be counted. It’s the living that counts.

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To Share The Same Sky

The September sky was crystal blue and the time of the Equinox signaled an end to Summer’s warm carefree days. The sun hangs low on the horizon. She meets him by the boat launch as her father and brother packs the camp. The last weekend is nearly over. This is last hour of their summer romance. Here on the edge of the fading lake they embrace beneath the sun and moon. Like the celestial bodies above they can only share the same sky for a short season. The lake boy looks deep into her eyes which are the same color blue as the sky. She noticed how the summer sun has left it’s golden tone on his skin. They continue stare silently into each other. Memorizing every line of the other’s face. Every freckle on his face and every colorful fleck in her eyes. The summer was a time when two worlds met and joined as one. But like the sun and moon the forces of nature will only allow the sharing of the sky for so long. As the embrace for summer’s last kiss, he reaches into the pocket of his shorts and pulls out a small box. “Close your eyes” he whispers. She’s a little bit nervous about what comes next but she trusts him and does as he asks. He places a golden chain around her neck. Suspended from it was a locket. It was small but elegant. Inside was the picture of the two of them on the local fishing pier. Her brother had taken the snapshot when they wasn’t looking. “Don’t let me be forgotten” he whispered once more as he clasped the necklace about her neck. A single tear rolls down her cheek and she thanked him for the gift. By now her family waits patiently in the packed car. “I’ll be waiting here for you next summer” she replied with her voice cracking. “True love is faithful no matter how long and cold the nights to come will be.” She added. With no way to delay their parting any longer the young lake boy stepped aboard his day cruiser and drifting off of the shore. He watched with anguish as she got in the car and went home for the school year. Throughout the coming months they would call, text and even attend prom together. The following summer they met again in the same spot by the boat launch. And never parted ways again.

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A Few thoughts On Summersville Dam

Driving cautiously down the winding road to the tail waters of Gauley River I think about my Grandfather. He was one of the many men who built Summerville Dam. In the days before the dam, the raging Gauley River destroyed small towns downstream. Near my home is Brown’s Service Station. The Owner once pointed out to me a watermark on the wall of his office from one of the pre-dam floods. I’m guessing that the water had to be 12 feet high in order to make the stain. When it was finally decided that something had to be done a monumental effort was made. There’s a great Video of the men building the Summerville Dam on YouTube. I know that my grandfather was one of the heavy equipment operators but I’ve not been able to recognize him in the video.

Today, the dam not only helps us to control flooding but it’s become a wealth generator to the local economy. The campers and boaters who spend summer on the lake also spend money in town. At the time of this writing, Gauley season is fully open and whitewater enthusiasts are enjoying the rapids as the Corps Of Engineers drain the lake to winter pool levels.

Rafters taking a break on pillow rock below Carnifex Ferry Battlefield State Park. Image was taken at the extreme range of my 300 mm lens.

The highly oxygenated water below the dam is popular among fisherman too. On any given morning the banks full of lines cast into the eddies in hopes that a trout will come to dinner.

As I stand at the foot of dam and look up I’m in awe of the accomplishment. The tunnel on the left is large enough for a train to pass through and a highway is on top of the dam. Just on the other side of this massive earthen dam is the sunken community of Gad,West Virginia. There is of course the local story of how close Government came to naming this are Gad Dam Lake which would have been a gold mine for memes and internet trolls.

I hope you’ve enjoyed tonight’s post but nothing beats coming to West Virginia for whitewater sports or just relaxing by the water. It’s all made possible by the flood control of Summersville Dam.

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Traveling West

The soft evening light draws me westward. The golden lines lead me home. Twilight is such a magical time. In the transitional light shadows dance to tune of the whippoorwill and coyote. Heaven’s door opens as angels march out. They go to and fro to the corners of the world in a changing of the guard. Their orders are to watch over the faithful. And if need be, escort them home to rest if one’s work is done. As the setting sun goes over the horizon the golden hue shifts to a crimson glow. It is a reminder of the price paid and the seal set. Travel on and follow the road. Home is just beyond the next horizon.

Tonight’s image was taken in Nicholas County West Virginia. It is Route 129 across the Summerville dam. As I was looking at this picture the yellow lines made think about the golden rule, the narrow path and the way to my heavenly home.

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